Talks on India plane purchase to start

Kyodo

Japan and India have agreed to soon launch working-level talks to pave the way for exports of the US-2 Japanese amphibious rescue aircraft, according to a government source.

The two countries will have to negotiate details such as training the Indian pilots and allowing licensed production of the aircraft to nurture India’s air industry, the source said. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to push for the deal when he visits India in late January.

The US-2 can land on water, even in 3-meter-high waves, for rescue operations. Exporting the aircraft is seen as a test case for the Abe administration, which is reviewing the so-called three principles on arms exports, which bans exports to communist-bloc countries, countries subject to an arms embargo under U.N. Security Council resolutions, and countries involved in or likely to be involved in international conflicts.

It’s not clear whether the deal can proceed because a device for detecting enemies could fall into the category of weapons under the three principles.

Also, Canada and Russia are trying to get India to buy their own airplanes, which are much cheaper than the ¥12 billion US-2.